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Markets

Russian rouble rebounds as sanctions threat fades

  • Rouble was 0.7% stronger against the dollar at 73.64 and had gained 0.8% in volatile trade to 88.60 versus the euro.
  • A trader at an investment company in Moscow told Reuters that reports of softer sanctions expected to be imposed by the United States were largely behind the rouble's swing.
Published March 2, 2021

MOSCOW: The Russian rouble shrugged off early losses to strengthen on Tuesday, as media reports suggested US sanctions over the poisoning and imprisonment of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny would target only individuals, rather than strategic assets.

By 1149 GMT, the rouble was 0.7% stronger against the dollar at 73.64 and had gained 0.8% in volatile trade to 88.60 versus the euro.

A trader at an investment company in Moscow told Reuters that reports of softer sanctions expected to be imposed by the United States were largely behind the rouble's swing.

The United States is expected to impose sanctions to punish Russia for Navalny's poisoning as early as Tuesday, two sources familiar with the matter said.

The Kremlin has denied any role in his illness and said it has seen no proof he was poisoned.

Fears of fresh sanctions against Russia have pressured the rouble for months, but the European Union agreed last month to impose only limited sanctions, in what looked like a mainly symbolic response to Navalny's imprisonment.

Bloomberg on Tuesday reported, citing an unnamed US official, that the United States may impose sanctions on 10 people with ties to President Vladimir Putin.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was down 0.2% at $63.52 a barrel.

Russian stock indexes were rising. The dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.9% at 1,456.2 points. The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 0.5% higher at 3,404.7 points.

The Moscow Exchange started trading foreign currency, gold and derivatives three hours earlier from March 1, opening at 0400 GMT and extending its trading day to 17 hours to cover more time zones, boost liquidity and attract more Asian investors.

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